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Jack Ma, 21st-Century Renaissance Man, To Star In Film

When people talk about the eCommerce giants “getting into movies,” usually they’re talking about digital content – offering films, TV shows, and even their own exclusive content for download at whatever a la carte or subscription rate is lower than what that other eCommerce guy is charging.

This time, however, Alibaba founder Jack Ma is literally getting into movies – or at least, one movie.

Ma will be starring in a short film alongside “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” star Natasha Liu Bordizzo, retired sumo Grand Champion Asashoryu Akinori, and actor and stuntman Tony Jaa. All actors, including Ma, appear in the film au gratis – likely due to a passion for tai chi, which is the subject of the film. Jet Li will be producing the movie.

Titled “Gong Shou Dao,” the film highlights the benefits of Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art that is practiced in part for defense training, but also largely for its health benefits – and Ma is clearly a fan, since the film was his idea.

A statement on Alizila, the Alibaba Group’s news source, said Ma pitched the idea in hopes of offering a window into Chinese culture as well as the health and happiness benefits of the Tai Chi practice.

Ma has been practicing the art since 1988 and has studied under Master Wang Xian since 2009. However, the moves Ma performs in the movie are his own.

It may be Ma’s first time as a movie star, but the Alibaba founder has certainly has his moments in the spotlight: he has performed pop hits, Peking Opera, skits, and magic in front of crowds numbering in the tens of thousands. For Alibaba’s 18th birthday, he dressed up and performed as Michael Jackson.

In other words, Ma is not just a successful businessman, but a performer and artist – a twenty-first century Renaissance Man, if you will.

“Gong Shou Dao” debuts on Nov. 11 and will be promoted during Alibaba’s Global Shopping Festival. Your move, Jeff Bezos.

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